How much social media or screen time is recommended for kids? This is one of the most frequent questions I get when working with parents and kids. It seems that most people usually do one or two hours per day as the limit, but rather than rigid rules, research suggests that it’s more important to engage your children in dialogue. Instead of focusing on a number of hours allowed, it’s better to focus on talking with your kids about social media and screen time, seeing what they think, and collaboratively come up with some guidelines for use in the home. In short, focus on the process of teaching your kids how to critically think about use social media and screens. Talk to them about the benefits and risks and make sure you acknowledge the benefits. Kids are smart enough to know that there are both sides to the discussion so talk honestly with them. In addition to these discussions, you have to model healthy social media and screen time behaviors for them. You can’t tell them to get off their phone when you spend all night on it. So, even before you have these discussions, consider talking about your own social media habits with a partner or friend. Click here to download the policy statement on social media use in kids from the American Academy of Pediatrics.
And if you’re interested in creating a personalized family media use plan, check out this link: www.healthychildren.org/English/media/Pages/default.aspx